Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo by Jackie Holcombe
Sarah and Elizabeth Chapman, daughters of Catholic Charities Atlanta staffer Melissa Chapman, spread cheer at the St. Anthony of Padua Church pick-up event for Christmas Connections. Families were able to pick up items from their wish lists at the Dec. 5 event.


Christmas Connections held with safety precautions

By GEORGIA BULLETIN STAFF, | Published December 10, 2020

ATLANTA—By practicing safe drop-off and pick-up of donations of clothes, toys and other needed items, volunteers were able to help families with the Christmas Connections program through Catholic Charities Atlanta.

For more than 20 years, families from four Catholic Churches in Atlanta, Roswell and Alpharetta have participated in the giving effort through CCA.

Low-income families from metro Atlanta and Cedartown write wish lists of items needed in their homes and gifts for their children. Donors purchase the gifts and buy gift cards for the families to purchase food for Christmas dinner.

According to CCA, donors spent an average of $125 on each of the 3,500 people in 2017—for a total of $437,500 given that year.

This year, the tradition continued in a revised manner. Donors and recipients were instructed to remain in their cars, and only volunteers removed or placed the boxes into cars. Masks were required, even though both events were outside and hand sanitizer was stationed in several areas. When possible, a 6-foot distance was maintained. Volunteers also had to fill out a questionnaire to determine if they had been potentially exposed to COVID-19 and temperatures were also taken before they could start helping.

Donors dropped off gifts the first week and weekend of December at St. Brigid Church, the Cathedral of Christ the King, St. Peter Chanel Church and St. Jude the Apostle.

Recipients picked up gifts at Northlake, St. Anthony of Padua Church, St. Bernadette Church, San Felipe de Jesus Mission, a mobile home community and a Head Start school.

This year, volunteers served 3,591 individuals. Of that, 878 were families and 2,161 were children.

While dozens of new bicycles were collected as gifts, needed items such as diapers and baby wipes were popular requests from families.

Cari Favole of CCA said that separate from Christmas Connections, the Knights of Columbus assisted with collecting four cases of coats for veterans, and Blessed Trinity High School held a school supply drive in late October. Laptops and accessories were donated to the refugee families served by CCA.

Read more about the work of Catholic nonprofits including CCA during this pandemic.